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More than 320 catalytic converters stolen in Edmonton since October

A closer look at the problem of thieves targeting catalytic converters
Sarah Ryan takes a closer look at the problem of thieves targeting catalytic converters.

An average of four or more catalytic converters have been stolen from under vehicles every day in Edmonton for more than two months.

More than 320 catalytic converters have been taken from vehicles throughout the city since the beginning of October, police said Wednesday.

The recent rash of incidents — which has seen southeast Edmonton hit the hardest, with 69 vehicles targeted since Oct. 1 — has thieves cutting off the devices on predominantly Ford F-Series trucks, F-350’s, Ford Econoline and Cutaway vans.

Southwest and west Edmonton have experienced high levels of catalytic converter thefts, with 58 and 50 incidents respectively.

The thefts have occurred largely overnight. Police said they involve vehicles often found in industrial areas, auto dealerships and hotel parking lots.

Police added vehicles such as Honda CR-Vs, Chevy Cavaliers and Pontiac Sunfires are also being targeted in apartment building parking lots.

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READ MORE: Spike in catalytic converter thefts from Honda CR-Vs in Edmonton

A catalytic converter is an emissions control part that makes gases and pollutants in exhaust less toxic before they leave the vehicle.

Attempted catalytic converter theft in PoCo leads to vehicle fire
Attempted catalytic converter theft in PoCo leads to vehicle fire

The converters, located on the underside of vehicles as part of the exhaust system, contain small amounts of valuable metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium, which can be sold.

Hamilton police say catalytic converters have “high-value metal” car parts which are often sold to scrap metal yards for cash.
Hamilton police say catalytic converters have “high-value metal” car parts which are often sold to scrap metal yards for cash. Hamilton Police Service

Catalytic converters can be removed from a vehicle by sawing through the piping, and trucks and SUVs are more at risk because they sit higher from the ground and are easier to get under.

You may not be able to tell if your catalytic converter is stolen by looking at your car, but you will know as soon as you start the engine.

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When the catalytic converter has been removed, the vehicle will make a loud roaring sound that will get louder as the gas pedal is pushed.

The problem isn’t isolated to Edmonton. Earlier this fall, St. Albert RCMP also issued a warning about a rise in catalytic converter thefts.

While August there was only one reported in the community directly north of Edmonton, RCMP there received 11 reports of catalytic converter thefts in September. Between Oct. 1 and Dec. 10, there were 22 more thefts in the community.

RCMP said most of the thefts were from industrial park areas, car dealerships and/or car servicing businesses, mall parking lots and a few from homes where the vehicle was parked on a driveway or the street.

READ MORE: Coquitlam RCMP reports massive spike in catalytic converter thefts

Mounties said it can cost the vehicle owner up to $2,000 to replace them.

Edmonton police released photos of three people believed to be suspects in the recent thefts.

Edmonton police released photos people believed to be suspects in the recent thefts. 
Edmonton police released photos people believed to be suspects in the recent thefts.  Edmonton Police Service
Edmonton police released photos people believed to be suspects in the recent thefts. 
Edmonton police released photos people believed to be suspects in the recent thefts.  Edmonton Police Service

Anyone with information about the thefts or people seen in the photos above is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone.

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Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.